Natalie Aho, Baptist News Global’s director of engagement and annual giving, has been named the first program manager of the Baptist Commons at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She begins her new role April 1.
Aho will serve as the strategic liaison between the divinity school and its Baptist students, alumni and the larger Baptist community. Her responsibilities also include event planning and strategic engagement and stewardship.
“Natalie has spent years working on behalf of Baptists who desire more from the denomination than exclusion and intolerance. Her tireless efforts with Baptist News Global fostered networking and professional development opportunities for progressive clergy and lay leaders,” School of Divinity Dean Jonathan Walton said in a news release.
“I’m confident that she will catalyze the Baptist Commons Program and enable Wake Div to be an even greater resource for pastors.”
The mission of the Baptist Commons is to form students, engage alumni and cultivate relationships with supporters to deepen the distinct Baptist heritage of the school’s ecumenical learning community. It was launched in 2018.
Aho, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and a master’s degree in interactive media from Quinnipiac University in New Haven, Connecticut, is a lifelong Baptist and has worked with Baptists for much of her career.
Aho joined the BNG team in 2011 and served the independent, nonprofit news organization as its interactive communication specialist until being named the director of engagement and annual giving in June 2019.
BNG Executive Director and Publisher David Wilkinson praised Aho and her work.
“Over the past nine years, we have benefited immeasurably from Natalie’s impressive skills, intelligence and creativity and her passion for the mission of BNG and the vital role of a free religious press,” he said.
“She has also been a gift to me personally as a trusted colleague, collaborator, advocate, confidante and friend,” Wilkinson said. “She will be a tremendous asset to Dr. Walton and the Wake Divinity School family.”
In her new role, Aho hopes to expand networking, training and other opportunities for individuals to live out their Christian callings.
“I am thrilled for this opportunity to be in the trenches with our students and alumni and look forward to coordinating ways our larger Baptist family can support the School of Divinity and ways the Baptist Commons can support them as we collectively raise up a generation of leaders who strive daily for justice, reconciliation and compassion,” Aho said.
Aho said she owes much to BNG.
“I am thankful for all the ways I was invited to participate in challenging and intriguing conversations about the state of the news industry, media creativity, audience engagement and the significance of a free religious press,” she said. “Now as a partner and friend, I will cheer BNG from the sidelines to promote its excellent work.”